Working Definition of Financial Inclusion

Access and usage of a broad range of affordable, quality financial services and products, in a manner convenient to the financially excluded, unbanked and under-banked; in an appropriate but simple and dignified manner with the requisite consideration to client protection. Accessibility should be accompanied by usage which should be supported through the financial education of clients.

Principles Underlying the Banking Industry’s Working Definition of Financial Inclusion:

The main goal of financial inclusion is to improve the range, quality and availability of financial services and products to the unserved, under-served and financially excluded. The definition of Financial Inclusion should embrace certain key principles which The Banking Association South Africa considers critical for delivering a broad range of quality financial services and products to the most vulnerable in our society who comprise both the unbanked and the under-banked. These key principles are:


The availability of affordable and appropriate financial products, services and delivery channels to the target market to facilitate universal access.


Products and services provided at affordable cost. The continuum of financial institutions should strive to reduce cost-to-client and the cost-to-serve in order to ensure that the price of products and services is in line with the target markets’ ability to pay for them.


Product should address the needs of clients and ensure their protection and dignity, taking cognisance of regulatory and language barriers.


The act of employing or utilising a financial service or product. Access is of no use if the targeted persons are not using the product or service therefore real inclusion should be accompanied by usage.


Describes how financial services are provided. Quality financial inclusion includes the following traits: affordability, simplicity, convenience, product-fit, safety, dignity of treatment, and client protection. Quality refers to product design and delivery traits that enhance the value of services to clients.

Consumer Financial Education

The provision of consumer financial education on the use of financial services is important if the previously disadvantaged are to use these services in a productive and responsible manner that will not cause them harm.

Innovation and Diversification

Embrace innovative product design, delivery channels and new technologies, keeping in mind that inclusion will be driven by diverse institutions on the financial services continuum.


The ease of use and understanding of the product and services, simple language and channels that are used to deliver them.

Financial Inclusion Info


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© The Banking Association South Africa 2019